On September 4, Russian media reported, citing sources in the Russian military, that the Russian Su-34 multifunctional fighter-bomber used the Kinzhal hypersonic missile for the first time during the special military operation in Ukraine.
The main carriers of the Kinzhal missiles are MiG-31 fighters. They can also arm Tu-22M3 bombers. It was also planned to equip the strategic missile carriers Tu-160.
The Russian military reported on several successful strikes with Kinzhal missiles since the very beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine. They were first used on March 18, 2022, when one of the main heavily equipped storage bases for nuclear weapons in western Ukraine, known as “Object 711”, or “Ivano-Frankivsk-16” was destroyed. LINK In August of the same year, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the military used the Kinzhal missiles three times for strikes throughout Ukraine. Since then, the Ministry of Defense has reported two more strikes on March 9 and May 16. Among other targets, Kinzhal destroyed the US Patriot air defense systems in Kiev.
Kinzhals are used to strike particularly important targets. These missiles are considered one of the most powerful and invulnerable missiles in service with Russian Aerospace Forces.
The hypersonic X-47M2 air-based missile of the Kinzhal complex was developed on the basis of the Iskander ground-based missile in the Kolomna Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering. The complex work on the adaptation of a land-based missile to an air-based to equip MiG-31K was carried out at the Mikoyan Design Bureau. The missile is designed to destroy well-protected command posts, underground arsenals and even aircraft carriers. The missile has one of the best navigation systems, developed by Russian specialists and assembled only from domestic components.
However, the lack of MiiG-31 carriers did not allow the mass use of Kinzhal missiles in hostilities. This aircraft is very expensive to operate and maintain and there is a limited number of them in service with the Russian Aerospace forces. In their turn, the Su-34s are a mass-produced front-line fighter-bombers that are well mastered by Russian pilots. The capabilities of the Su-34 sighting and navigation system are higher than those of the MiG-31, since the fighter-bomber is designed to destroy ground goals.
The installation of Kinzhal missiles on the Su-34 is an important breakthrough of the Russian military-industrial complex. At the same time, the Russian military declared the multiple increase in the production of Kinzhal missiles. Thus, their use on the battlefield can become massive soon.
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- Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile Proved To Be Unstoppable In Ukraine: Russian Military Chief
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- Russia Test-Launched Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile From Upgraded Tu-22M3M Bomber